William Atherton (born July 30, 1947), born William Atherton Knight, is an American film, stage and television actor. --- Atherton was born in Orange, Connecticut, the son of Robert Atherton Knight and Roby (maiden name Robison). He studied acting at the Drama School at Carnegie Tech and graduated from Carnegie-Mellon University in 1969. Atherton made a splash on the New York stage immediately after graduating college and worked with many of the country's leading playwrights including David Rabe, John Guare and Arthur Miller, winning numerous awards for his work on and off Broadway. He got his big break playing hapless fugitive Clovis Poplin in The Sugarland Express, the feature film debut of Steven Spielberg. After this, he garnered major roles in dark dramas such as The Day of the Locust and Looking for Mr. Goodbar, as well as the big-budget disaster film The Hindenburg. He also starred as cowboy Jim Lloyd in the ground-breaking 1978 miniseries Centennial, based on the novel by James Michener. Atherton entered pop culture history in 1984, when he appeared in the hit comedy Ghostbusters as the overbearing EPA agent Walter Peck. In 1985, Martha Coolidge chose Atherton to play Professor Jerry Hathaway in the teen comedy Real Genius. In 1988, Atherton played narcissistic reporter Richard "Dick" Thornburg in the blockbuster action film Die Hard, as well as its 1990 sequel.
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- July 30, 1947 (age 76)
- Bobbi Goldin
- Robert Atherton Knight, Roby Robinson Knight